Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Chronicle - Big Band Weekend Edition

With a Partylite party to host for my sister-in-law, a house to clean for company, and a big band weekend to pack and prepare for.... to say I was busy last week would be an understatement.  But it all got done and it was a great weekend.  Here are some pictures from our past week.

Roasted cauliflower.... I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it!  425* oven, cauliflower tossed with a little of your favorite oil (mine is coconut oil for veggies), a little salt and roast until the edges are dark brown.

Cheapest fall decorations ever. I traced leaves and cut them out of construction paper. I was hoping the decorations would distract people from my horrible partially wallpapered walls. 

Pumpkin Muffins (slightly adapted from this recipe

My weird lunch one day.... Avocado toast with HB eggs (next time I'll keep the eggs on the side), and garden green beans (from the freezer) and the last of the roasted cauliflower.

Pumpkin pound cake with caramel glaze for the candle party.

The party food.  I made it all ahead of time so it was easy to just pull things out of the fridge.

Jon's marching band competed in a band competition hosted by Appalachian State University. We got to drive through mountains at nearly peak fall color.  Perfect weather and fall leaves... made for a nice drive.

The kids and I packed bags with snacks, lunch, and activities to keep us busy through a full day of band watching.  It got really warm in the sun.....

... and then the sun went away... Brrrr....

Suzanne is made of tougher stock.  I guess when you're from Western PA, you laugh at people bundled up in October.
Love Evan's sunglasses...
 Sock knitting is perfect for band competitions.

Jon's band getting ready to take the field.

It's so exciting to watch them perform in such a huge stadium. They did a great job!

We had dinner at Applebee's. Surprisingly good dinner.

Blurry selfie with my boy.

When we went back to the stadium for the rest of the competition, we went up in the VIP section and got to sit in the comfy seats, under the heat lamps.  It was a very good idea!

The next morning I used leftover dinner rolls and made a cinnamon bread pudding/French toast bake for breakfast. It smelled amazing but I added a bit too much milk to it (says the crowd).

We enjoyed the last morning with family in the beautiful weather before Jon's parents and sister had to get on the road.

Like my XXL lumberjack shirt?  It's really Jon's.... but it's oh so cozy. 

I think Charlotte is behind all those leaves.

Last night I made chili last night using my regular recipe (with Pinto beans instead of kidney beans because that's what I had) and I added a few chopped up sweet potatoes.  Jon eyed the sweet potatoes suspiciously but after he ate his bowlful, he said he loved it! He really loved the addition of sweet potatoes, as did I.  They were sweet and creamy to contrast the spice of the chili.

That was our busy, fun weekend. I hope yours was great!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weekly Chronicle

 The kids rooms needed a touch up (okay, an overhaul is probably a better word) so I helped Charlotte and Jon worked on Evan's room since he was still sick and on the couch.

 Once we'd gotten the room clean, we rearranged her room to accommodate the desks that our neighbor gave the kids.
 The desks are great and the kids love using them as their "Daily Planet" headquarters.
 Much better. They're having nightly room inspections now in an effort to keep them clean.

 I could live off of soup... but I'm the only one in the house who feels this way.  So, lately I've been making 1-2 big batches of soup a week and freezing half of it.  I'm creating a freezer stock pile of many different types of soup so I don't have to eat the same kind every day for lunch.  Soon I'll have 6-8 kinds to choose from that just need to be heated up.  The above soup was venison and vegetable in a tomato broth.

 Charlotte got a sand art kit for her birthday.

 A few weeks ago I made a list of all the words/commands/tricks that Polly knew at 9 months old.  Amazing.  Poodles really are as smart as their reputation.  Our former Chihuahua Oscar knew "sit" but only when he was in the mood.

 I'm loving avocados lately but I can only eat them so fast.  I've started mashing and freezing the extra for later.  It thaws kinda watery and mushy but still tastes fine.  I had some on my toast a few days ago and it was still pretty good.

 Big batch of kielbasa, dried lima beans, and cabbage soup... half went into the freezer.

 Banana Chocolate chip muffins. One of the kid's favorites. I freeze them individually so they're easy to throw into lunch boxes.  
In the recipe, I cut the sugar by half, use all whole wheat pastry flour, and only use 1/2 cup of chocolate chips... and no cinnamon chips. They're still sweet enough and Charlotte approved (my toughest customer).

 We've been having pizza and movie nights on Fridays lately. It's been a fun tradition to start with the kids.  This past week I surprised the kids with a real milkshake (as apposed to a banana based one). I made a pumpkin pie milkshake with vanilla ice cream, milk, a little pumpkin puree, and some cinnamon.  They LOVED it!

 Jon's band is doing an amazing job this year.  They took home second place this past week with 1st place drum major and percussion!
 This upcoming weekend we get to head to Boone (2 hours away) to watch them compete at Appalachian State University.  I can't wait!

 I love this weather. The kids have been spending almost all day outside and the windows stay open all day.  I love our electric bill in the fall.

 Charlotte and Evan are proving themselves to be excellent car washers. We cleaned the van inside and out last weekend. It's nice to have the crumbs out and the outside all shiny.

Batting practice.

Have a great week!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Simple Roasted Garlic Hummus

I made hummus this weekend and it was so good that I wanted to blog the recipe before I forgot how I made it.  I don't claim that this recipe is traditional but it was delicious and very inexpensive so that's all that matters to me. 
 Roasted garlic and a big pot of cooked garbanzo beans
 The equipment... plus a batgirl cape and a paper bag pumpkin.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Start with:
1 can of garbanzo beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans

For each 1 1/2 cups of beans add:
*1/4 cup olive oil (or whatever oil you like)
*3/4 tsp. salt
*a few cloves of roasted garlic** (the whole head of garlic was enough for a quadruple batch of hummus)
*enough water (~1/4 cup) to blend smoothly

**directions on how to roast garlic here

Add everything to a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth.  Serve or refrigerate until later.

My pound of dry garbanzo beans yielded 6 cups of cooked beans so I made a quadruple batch of hummus and froze some for later.

I read somewhere that it's best to cover hummus with a thin layer of olive oil before freezing.  Ignore the huge bowl of grits in the background.

The best part is that the rest of my family doesn't like hummus so I get to eat all of this wonderful stuff all by myself!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekly Chronicle - It's Back

In an effort to keep up with my blog, I'll be bringing back the Weekly Chronicle.... a quick recap of the happenings from that week.  
My camera died a month or so ago and I'm so grateful my sister loaned me her old one until we can save up for a new camera. Thanks, Katie!
I have the same breakfast every morning. This keeps my stomach from getting upset.  I have a frozen smoothie based on a basic recipe but I change things up every once in a while.  I always start with a frozen banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, a small spoonful of cocoa powder, and almond milk.  Then I add whatever other fruits or vegetables I have in the freezer.  The smooth above has some frozen spinach added.  The smoothie below has a few cherries and some pumpkin puree.  The smoothies are so good and keep me full for about 4 hours. 

The marching band is off to a great start this year! Last night they won 1st place music and 1st place percussion!

My new favorite bread recipe. I'll post it soon.

My whole life I've been operating under the assumption that I hate avocados.  I don't know why. I was just sure of it... until this past week.  I bought an avocado, toasted up some bread, spread 1/4 of the avocado on it and topped it with a good sprinkle of salt.  It was delicious! Silly me. The avocado was so creamy and buttery. The salt on top is a must.  It's my new favorite snack/lunch! 
 Jon is restacking his wood pile into "Wood Houses"... round wood stacks that are self supporting.  We did this with our firewood this year and it's worked really well.  The wood he's stacking will be ready to burn next year.

 Maple Pumpkin Scones.
We're loving tortillas lately... as burritos, quesadillas, and even as a quick pizza crust.  Yesterday I made a triple batch of whole wheat tortillas.  Most of them will go in the freezer for a quick meal on a busy night. 

Evan is sick this weekend with a headache and fever.  He's couch surfing and watching as much TV as he wants (the rule in this house when you have a fever).  Hopefully his fever will break soon and he'll be running around the house again.  

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